Deap Lips' Debut Is An Interstellar Excursion For The Quarantined Mind

Apr 6, 2020
Originally published on April 7, 2020 8:38 am

The Flaming Lips have been making arty rock for nearly four decades, and over time the Oklahoma City-based group has become known for unusual collaborations, from pop star Miley Cyrus to the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Now, the band's frontman Wayne Coyne and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd have teamed with Deap Vally, a Los Angeles guitar-and-drum duo. The project is called Deap Lips, as is its self-titled debut album.

Deap Lips wrote and recorded the record months before the world was sent home to practice social distancing, but the opening track "Home Thru Hell" sounds tailor-made for the uncertain time we're living through, with references to stocking the larder and images of birds of prey flying over desolate highways.

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Known for a sprawling musical palette and boundless creativity, Coyne and Drozd are masters of obscuring melody in waves of instrumentation and unexpected noises. Deap Vally is practically at the other end of the sonic spectrum: Its spartan, raunchy garage-glam is powered by Julie Edwards' splashy drums and singer and guitarist Lindsay Troy's sardonic growl. But the collaboration finds common ground in both dissonance and melodic tendencies. In songs like "Hope Hell High," gently mottled soundscapes give Troy a place for the lush notes in her voice to bloom.

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This Deap Lips debut is beautiful and chaotic, a psychedelic dream with jagged edges. Its ethereal sounds are punctuated with expressive expletives that are not safe for work. But if you're sheltering at home, as many of us are, it's a perfect listen. Alternately meditative and jarring, with contemplative moments followed by calls to action, it's an interstellar excursion for your mind to embark upon while the rest of your body is under quarantine.

Correction: 4/07/20

This story originally identified the title of Deap Lips' debut album to be Blam. The album is self-titled.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The Flaming Lips are known for their collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Erykah Badu, even the Colorado Symphony. Now members of the band have teamed up with Deap Vally - that's a Los Angeles guitar and drum duo - for an entirely different sound. The project is called Deap Lips, and their self-titled debut album is out now. Meredith Ochs has our review.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEAP LIPS SONG, "HOME THRU HELL")

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: Deap Lips wrote and recorded their new album months before the world was sent home to practice social distancing. But the album's opening track sounds tailor-made for the uncertain time we're living through, with references to stocking the larder and images of birds of prey flying over desolate highways.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOME THRU HELL")

DEAP LIPS: (Singing) I could hear the screaming vultures screaming out my name, not knowing I was lost along this long, bad highway.

OCHS: Known for their sprawling musical palette and boundless creativity, The Flaming Lips are masters of obscuring melody in waves of instrumentation and unexpected noises. Deap Vally are practically at the other end of the sonic spectrum. Their spartanly raunchy garage glam is powered by Julie Edwards' splashy drums and singer/guitarist Lindsay Troy's sardonic growl.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMILE MORE")

DEAP LIPS: (Singing) I don't want to be a reflection. I'm so bored with this rejection.

OCHS: But the collaboration finds common ground in both dissonance and melody. In songs like this one, gently mottled soundscapes give Troy a place for the lush notes in her voice to bloom.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOPE HELL HIGH")

DEAP LIPS: (Singing) 'Cause it's a long way. It's a long way. I got a long, long way to go. Yeah, it's a...

OCHS: This Deap Lips debut is beautiful and chaotic, a psychedelic dream with jagged edges. Its ethereal sounds are punctuated with expressive expletives that are not safe for work. But if you're sheltering in place, as many of us are, it's a perfect listen. Alternately meditative and jarring, with contemplative moments followed by calls to action, it's an interstellar mind excursion to embark upon while the rest of your body is under quarantine.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANDERING WITCHES")

DEAP LIPS: (Singing) You always find pain.

KELLY: The debut album from Deap Lips is out now. Our reviewer, Meredith Ochs, is the author of several books, including "Rock-And-Roll Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WANDERING WITCHES")

DEAP LIPS: (Singing) ...To the lie that's in your brain. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.